The Thursday Book Bite…a bite of non-fiction

A beautiful Thursday to do some reading (and relaxing) outside!!

Today I wanted to share a non-fiction book that our family enjoys:

Actual Size By Steven Jenkins 

This non-fiction text shows different facts and characteristics of animals and insects, but shows them in ACTUAL SIZE! (The cover illustration is of a gorilla hand and pygmy mouse lemur- which both have hands similar to ours, but VERY different sizes).

The pictures almost seem to jump off the page at you in a ‘3-D esque’ fashion. And, the fold-out of the saltwater crocodile is the BEST!

This book can really encourage real-life connections to science and animals. It is sometimes hard for kids to comprehend the size of animals, especially ones they have never seen before (and may never see). Actual Size helps make those animals a bit more real to them.

This book can be used for a read-aloud with a variety of age groups (PreK and up). With younger children you can read the main text of the book and discuss and compare/contrast the different animals. For older kids there is an additional paragraph about each of the animals that can be found at the very end of the book, allowing for an extension of learning (taking what you know, and stretching it a bit further).

As a learning tool, this book is valuable in a variety of ways. Because of it’s subject matter you can use it to create discussions (why are some animals so big and others so little?), further learning (now that we know these facts about animals, what can we decide about their environments?), and even prompt explorations in art (create life-size animals using a new medium), writing (create and write about your own fictional animal-in actual size, of course!), or math (use a ruler or tape measure to mark the dimensions of some of the animals, graph and compare the dimensions).

This book is a great introduction to animals in order to spark your child’s interest, and would be a good pre-read before a trip to the zoo (or a way to make learning connections after a trip to the zoo as well). This book is a tool for teaching life science skills such as identifying the physical characteristics of animals and how these characteristics help them to survive. They can then compare/contrast their own bodies and characteristics with those of the animals and insects in the book. It also helps children to see and understand animals in a new way- their actual size!

So, explore some science in picture books…

AND check out Steve Jenkins’ website here to learn more about the author and his books!

Angela (a readingteachermom)


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